welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here's a look at some of the stories we're following this hour. iraqi government troops are fighting islamist extremists over control of the country's largest oil refinery. ukraine's president has announced a plan for a cease-fire, but russia's foreign minister remains skeptical. and officials in tokyo say the south korean military should not conduct a drill near the
area controlled by south korea. iraqi government forces are battling against islamist extremists threatening to advance to the capital. fierce fighting continues over control of the country's biggest oil refinery. sunni insurgents have launched an assault in the northern city of baiji. the militants seized the country's second largest city of mosul and are expanding their influence to the south. the refinery supplies 20% of the country's gasoline and other oil products. government forces are stepping up air attacks in the west trying to stop the advance of the militants. the troops have retaken some areas of the northern town of talafar which had earlier fallen to the insurgents. the iraqi government has asked the united states for military help. leaders in washington are orchestrating their response. nhk world's jun yotsumoto reports. >> reporter: former military
foreign minister said the iraqi government has asked them to carry out air strikes. but the u.s. defense chief says any targets must be clarified. >> options like air strikes, as the president said, he has not ruled in or out, but there has to be a reason for those, there has to be an objective. >> reporter: the insurgents' exact location is hard to pinpoint. they are mixed in with civilians. and they don't have a key base for their operations. u.s. leaders fear that air strikes could kill innocent people. hagel also criticized iraqi prime minister nuri al maliki for not sharing power with different factions. he says that's what sparked the violence. >> this current government in iraq has never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring a
unity government together with the sunnis, the kurds and the shia. >> reporter: maliki is a shia. he had been widely accused of favoring the country's shia muslims who formed a majority. the insurgents are the sunni minority. and experts say sunnis have grown frustrated with how they've been treated. the fighting has raised diplomatic tensions beyond iraq's borders. iranian president hassan rouhani has vowed to defend shia holy shrines in iraq. neighboring saudi arabia has a large sunni population. leaders there are urging for national reconciliation in iraq without further interference. on wednesday, u.s. vice president joe biden spoke with iraqi leaders on the phone. he called on leaders to find a peaceful resolution. on the same day, u.s. president
barack obama met congressional leaders. he hasn't ruled out air raids to try and help stabilize the situation in iraq. jun jautsmoto, nhk world, toke know. ukraine's president has announced a plan for a cease-fire in his country. the u.s. vice president backs the idea, but russia's foreign minister remains skeptical. ukrainian president petro poroshenko has urged government forces to unilaterally stop the violence. he wants pro-russian residents to agree to disarm the separatists. ukrainian defense ministry officials say the troops will stop their attacks in a few days. the white house says vice president joe biden spoke by phone with poroshenko. biden expressed support for the truce plan. biden said russia had failed to use its influence to stop separatist violence in eastern
ukraine, but russia has doubts about the truce. russian foreign minister sergey lavrov said the actions of ukranian leaders were aggressive and moscow cannot rule out anything. european union leaders are expected to discuss the ukrainian crisis at their summit in belgium next week. south korean officials say they will conduct a military drill near islands in the sea of japan. officials in tokyo say they cannot accept such a move. japan claims the takeshima islands which are controlled by south korea. japan's coast guard officials say they were notified the exercise will take place between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on friday. they say a part of the northern edge of the drill zone overlaps with japan's territorial waters. and they are warning vessels to stay away from that area. the government maintains the islands are an inherent part of japan's territory and says south korea is occupying them illegally.
a top government spokesman says the planned drill is unacceptable and extremely regrettable. >> translator: we have conveyed our stance and urged the south korean government to cancel the drill. >> he said the navigation alert is aimed at assuring the safety of ships. he said issuing it is not in recognition of the south korean claim of the islands or the firing drill. he became the first south korean president to visit the islands. bilateral ties have soured since then. officials in tokyo have proposed to jointly bring the case before the international it court of justice, but seoul has refused. a chinese court has handed down jail sentences to three political activists. officials say they disrupted public order.
the court in an inland province sentenced two to 6 1/2 years in prison. the third defendant was given three years. the three citizens were found guilty of disrupting public order by displaying banners and making public speeches. the movement began spreading in china last year. it calls for public participation in politics and social reforms. authorities have maintained dozens of activists and lawyers. the taliban claiming responsibility. for a gun battle in afghanistan. >> insurgents have attacked a native post in eastern afghanistan. dozens of fuel trucks were destroyed as militants fought a gun battle with police guards. the taliban has claimed responsibility. at least four taliban insurgents attacked a parking compound at a nato basis in torkham. it's on the border of pakistan
and is a key supply route for international forces based in afghanistan. officials say one attacker blew himself up. police reportedly killed the others. >> translator: 37 trucks were destroyed. we managed to save six. firefighters are trying to extinguish the blaze. >> reporter: a taliban spokesperson confirmed his forces were behind the attack. he said they are fighting to expel foreign elements and bring down the u.s.-backed kabul government. war-torn afghanistan held a presidential runoff election last saturday. scores of civilians said security officials were killed on that day alone. the killings follow taliban warnings that it would disrupt the vote across the country. u.s. live-led international combat troops plan to complete their it withdrawal by the end of this year. the country will be left to improve security on its own but observers express doubts over the afghanistan government's ability to achieve peace.
philippine security forces had a gun battle on thursday with abu sayyaf, an islamic militant group with suspected al qaeda links. the u.s. government designates the group a terrorist organization. at least seven troops were killed and 13 wounded. ap reports that the security forces assaulted a group of abu sayyaf fighters early thursday morning near a town in sulu province. the strike escalated into a gun battle, killing one. six troops died in a mortar attack nearby. casualties on the militant side are unknown. last week, philippine authorities detained a suspected senior member of abu sayyaf near manila international airport. abu sayyaf emerged in the 1990s near the sulu islands. its membership is believed to have shrunk to several hundred following a u.s.-backed military
campaign against it. but it remains a major security threat in the philippines. a campaign in india that's aimed at improving public health and hygiene is underscoring the country's low number of household toilets. according to the united nations children's fund, nearly half of india's population practice open defecation. we followed a young woman whose actions have made a difference. nhk world's neha gupta reports. >> reporter: an animation video made by unicef encourages indians to use toilets instead of going outdoors which worsens public sanitation. problems caused by the absence of toilets are more serious in poor, rural areas. household toilets are rare in
villages with no sewer systems. unicef estimates that 600,000 children in india die from diarrhea or infectious diseases each year. >> translator: i'm worried because he often gets sick like this. >> reporter: a woman living in the northern indian village has been trying to change the situation. she is 21, grew up in a house with a toilet, which was uncommon. when she married two years ago, she moved to the house of her husband's family, but it had no toilet. she urged the family to get one, but they refused. so she left the house in protest and returned to her own parents' home. her defiant stance was almost unthinkable for women in the region.
a local newspaper told her story, and it praised her as a courageous woman who raised her voice. she has also appeared alongside a movie actress in a commercial to promote household toilets. her activities caught the attention of an ngo, which installed a toilet in her husband's house free of charge. she and her husband have joined the ngo, engaging in educational activities to promote the use of household toilets among local people. >> translator: i'm glad my action has drawn people's attention to the toilet problem.
>> reporter: priyanka has high hopes for the newly elected prime minister narendra modi who took office in may. >> translator: i will see that toilets and other items that are indispensable for people's lives are installed in all households. >> reporter: when he served as a chief minister for jurat state, modi improved local infrastructure. now as prime minister, he has designated the spread of private toilets as a priority item. >> translator: now that prime minister modi made a promise to the people, i hope he will live up to his words. i will continue my activities until all the people get toilets in their homes. >> reporter: the insufficient number of toilets is even blamed for dragging down india's
economic growth. now the question is whether the new administration can ease a serious and widespread public health problem. neha gupta, nhk world, new delhi. and that wraps up our bulletin from bangkok. of. >> north korea is talking about a widespread drought. they are worried about the food problems. high temperatures since spring, the report says western regions including the capital have little rain this month. it says the drought is having a severe impact of the growth of wheat and corn and says the damage could be the worst since 2001. the u.n. world food program says over 30% of north korean children are knot getting enough
nutrition. sony shareholders are voicing their criticism of the people who run the company. they're blaming managers for two straight years of losses, but the chief executive has promised that change is on the way. the shareholders attended their annual meeting in tokyo. the company booked a $1.2 billion net loss for the 2013 fiscal year. that's mainly due to its money losing tv unit. executives expect more red ink this year. they cite the high cost of streamlining efforts. some shareholders expressed disappointment about the tv business that has posted a loss for ten straight years. one shareholder pointed out that executives have failed to offer detailed restructuring plans and others question whether the current management team can turn the company around.
ceo kazuo hirai said he understands the criticism but stressed it is his responsibility to complete structural reforms by march and put the company on a path to growth for next year. amazon has made a name for itself as an online shopping portal. now executives are are taking the executives into a new arena. they've launched the company's first smartphone. amazon ceo jeff bazos unfailed the fire phone the a launch event in seattle. it has 3d functions including one that displays buildings on a map. company officials say it also offers an i messive experience for gamives. they say its camera recognizes objects such as books an dvds, then displays pricing and other information. the phone can can also identify music and video content and link users to amazon's online stores
for making purchases. company officials say that the fire phone will go onsale in the u.s. market july 25th. analysts say south korea samsung and u.s. firm apple have nearly half the market for smartphones. relations between japan and china are in deep freeze, and there seems little chance of a thaw anytime soon. for a decade a private think tank has been trying to keep the lines of communication open. nhk world spoke with the organizer of the annual beijingi beijinging/tokyo conference. >> reporter: a news conference was held in beijing earlier this month by an genron npo, a japanese private sector think
tank to announce the dates for the tenth beijing/tokyo forum. >> translator: this year's forum will be held in tokyo on the 27th, 28th and 29th of september. >> reporter: september 29th is the 42nd anniversary of the date on which diplomatic ties were normalized between japan and china. however, due to the breakdown in bilateral relations, it's still not clear whether high-level chinese officials will appear at the forum. the forum has been held for nine years. the aim is to improve relations for the candid exchange of opinions among politicians, scholars and experts on both sides. the agenda ranges from politics and the economy to media and bilateral exchanges. at the second forum, in 2006,
participants included current japanese prime minister shinzo abe and chinese foreign minister wang yi. yashi secudo is the founder and president of genron npo. every year, as the time for the meeting approaches, he holds negotiations with tokyo and beijing as a coordinator to decide participants and discussion themes. kudo says that this year, in particular, he feels a strong sense of mutual distrust on both sides. >> translator: according to chinese military officials, the situation is so tense that military clashes are only being avoided because those on site are exercising self-restraint. the situation needs to be resolved quickly. but with both governments refusing to give an inch, there are question marks on both sides
about each other's commitment to improving bilateral relations. china is very sensitive to public opinion. some sectors are calling for improved ties with japan, and that's important. but there are also highly nationalistic opinions out there. that's what we're up against. i do want people to realize that those antagonistic viewpoints are not the only ones, but unless there is enough public opinion in favor of improved ties, there is unlikely to be any impact on diplomatic policies. >> reporter: the two sides are still a long way from finding even the smallest clue for agreeing to hold a bilateral summit. kudo says the two countries are now looking ahead to the apec summit which will be held in beijing in november when their top leaders will be among the participants.
>> translator: given the current circumstances, china believes a bilateral summit would be out of the question. that would further underline the two sides' strained relations to the rest of the world. that's why it has become a very delicate issue. the forum is not really being held for the two governments. it's a private-level dialog. but it's open to government officials as well. that's why we very much want them to take full advantage of this forum. we want this dialog to be held as a way to help prevent war and to serve as a gateway to change the prevailing atmosphere of confrontation between japan and china. >> kudo is expecting 3,000 participants at this year's tokyo forum, and he's hoping he can help heal strained relations between the two countries. populous.
prosperous. pushing ahead. china's rise brought it wealth and problems. find out the challenges china faces on "news it liuewsline"ne. it has been a hot and muggy week in tokyo. our meteorologist, robert speta, joins us with how the forecast on how long this situation will last. >> yes. what we have been seeing out here is these very dry conditions, very warm across much of western japan on thursday. all due to this high pressure ridging in from the west. you can see that clear air on the satellite imagery. temperatures up to the high 20s to low 30s in osaka and kyoto. we have been seeing temperatures in the high 20s into tokyo. now, as we head through friday, afternoon thunderstorms are still very well possible. we have a lot of instability in the atmosphere. but by saturday and sunday, hot and muggy conditions will be removed and we are starting to
see rainy conditions work their way into the forecast. that's coming in from southeastern china, rainy season front is lingering. still more rainfall, upwards of 150-200 millimeters into the next 24 hours. that's on top of what has already been falling. that threat of flooding is definitely going to be in place. we are going to be watching this storm system develop. it will push its way off toward the east impacting the southern japanese islands. you have already been seeing scattered thunderstorms in okinawa. that is likely continuing friday into saturday. over towards kyushu and into tokyo by sunday morning. we could be seeing very heavy rainfall as well as high waves near the media coastline. as far as your temperatures on friday, tokyo with a high of 28. partly cloudy skies. back toward the west, taipei up to 31. but you are still seeing rain showers in your forecast. same thing into shanghai into the high 20s. over towards india, we are still
talking about the monsoon out here. as far as southeastern asia, toward the indochina peninsula, it's actually a little bit above average. you're getting soaked out here. into india, the monsoon is being delayed at this point. we are seeing showers near the immediate coastal areas, but it hasn't quite set in farther off toward the north. this time last year, the monsoon was already all the way set in. we were talking about flooding up toward the kashmir regions. it is hot and dry off toward the north. we are still going to see isolated thunderstorms but the cloud cover is not persistent. so temperatures continuing to climb up into the low 40s. also talking about thunderstorms, let's look over towards the americas. this has been the topic all week, especially for the northern plains into the great lakes region. this is where you have been seeing day after day of large hail reports, even tornadoes
towards canada as well. the biggest threat will be in the central plains, extending to minnesota, wisconsin, northern iowa, you have flash flood warnings in effect at this time. there is still threat of large hail and a possible tornado. if you have travel plans be ready for delays or cancellations. even out on the roads, it is going to be a slow go. chicago, high of 22. hot and muggy in houston and over toward atlanta it. let's finish up in europe where fairly decent conditions have been persisting across the low countries towards the british isles. we have been talking about the thunderstorms toward the balkan peninsula. that's working its way east into the black sea. you are going to see frequent lightning and hail. back off towards the north, rain showers expect nd bered in berl. gusty winds coming in from the north for the new low and for the most part, paris and london, partly cloudy skies on your friday. here is your extended outlook.
music lovers in paris have enjoyed a rare live performance of a japanese string instrument, the koto. most of the seven pieces were written or arranged by japanese composer michio miyagi. the concert was held to mark the 120th anniversary of his birth. miyagi helped to revitalize traditional japanese music by adding western elements. his best known work is haru no umi or the sea in spring. miyagi performed the piece with french violinist renee chemet in 1932. >> translator: very interesting concert. i liked the rhythms. >> translator: i loved the wide variety of traditional and modern styles. ♪